Is it wrong to pray to the Buddha?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
thepea
Posts: 837
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2014 11:06 pm

Re: Is it wrong to pray to the Buddha?

Post by thepea » Sun Mar 04, 2018 1:58 pm

denise wrote:
Sun Mar 04, 2018 1:43 pm
so people spinning thousands of prayer wheels and hanging prayer flags have incorrect behavior.....burning incense and candles and making offerings at shrines should stop? :thinking: the Buddha said he was not God.....nor is he a drive thru or a department store....interesting about the desire/craving bit though......ok...be well
I’ve never said prayer is wrong. If you like to do something do it.
My son is a goalie on his hockey team and I routinely sit in the stands hoping that he stops the puck from scoring.
This is craving the more I desire for him to stop the puck the more agitated/suffering experienced.
As I said kamma produced can be light or heavy, it is craving and it is the cause of suffering.
Buddha probably said he was not “a” god, there is a difference between god singular and the gods like Zeus, etc..,

dharmacorps
Posts: 391
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2015 7:33 pm

Re: Is it wrong to pray to the Buddha?

Post by dharmacorps » Sun Mar 04, 2018 6:16 pm

denise wrote:
Sun Mar 04, 2018 1:43 pm
so people spinning thousands of prayer wheels and hanging prayer flags have incorrect behavior.....burning incense and candles and making offerings at shrines should stop?
This gets into a subject which is challenging and depends on your intentions. If you hang prayer flags, prayer wheels and burn incense in hope an external entity of any kind will make things "better" for you, then that would be wrong view based on the Pali Canon. If you do it to engender good qualities in the mind and practice the 8 fold path, then it is right view, right effort, etc etc.

User avatar
aflatun
Posts: 802
Joined: Fri Sep 16, 2016 2:40 pm
Location: Bay Area, CA

Re: Is it wrong to pray to the Buddha?

Post by aflatun » Mon Mar 05, 2018 2:58 am

The kind of prayer many people are talking about in this thread (supplication) as if it is prayer as such accounted for about 5% of the prayer I did for years as a serious practitioner in an Abrahamic tradition.

The recollection of the Buddha that the suttas praise, and which seems to lead to jhana, or just short of jhana, is similar to what an Islam is known as remembrance of God (Dhikr-ullah): Contemplating, keeping in mind, emulating and invoking the Divine Names (mercy, compassion, etc). Dhikr funny enough encompasses much of what we Buddhists call Sati-Sampajanna (mindfulness of what one is doing at all times, along with the ethical teachings that one is trying to actualize. In Islam this to a large extent falls under what is known as ihsan, often deceptively translated as "virtue") ... and it involves formal "sitting meditation" and leads to states of absorption and insight. Of course Right View is not there, so its not Buddha Dhamma, but the structural similarity is undeniable.

Prayer for a Muslim*** in the beginning stages is about submitting oneself to the Divine and at the highest level annihilation (fana) of the self (nafs) in the sheer Existence (wujud) that is the Deity: The highest form of prayer is when it is God who remembers Himself and "you" are nowhere to be found. (cf. Meister Eckhart: The eye through which I see God is the same eye through which God sees me...")

So yeah I'd call that prayer, and say its a wonderful thing to "pray to the Buddha."

***This is just an example. We'd find similar things in the other Abrahamic faiths.
Last edited by aflatun on Mon Mar 05, 2018 5:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
"People often get too quick to say 'there's no self. There's no self...no self...no self.' There is self, there is focal point, its not yours. That's what not self is."

Ninoslav Ñāṇamoli
Senses and the Thought-1, 42:53

"Those who create constructs about the Buddha,
Who is beyond construction and without exhaustion,
Are thereby damaged by their constructs;
They fail to see the Thus-Gone.

That which is the nature of the Thus-Gone
Is also the nature of this world.
There is no nature of the Thus-Gone.
There is no nature of the world."

Nagarjuna
MMK XXII.15-16

alfa
Posts: 108
Joined: Fri Mar 18, 2011 4:43 pm
Location: India

Re: Is it wrong to pray to the Buddha?

Post by alfa » Mon Mar 05, 2018 3:11 am

We pray because we have desire/craving.

Else, we wouldn't pray.

No matter how you define prayer, it is born of craving. It is born of desire alone, the desire for SOMETHING (whatever that thing is).

So pertinent question here is not: What is prayer?

The only question that matters is: Why do we pray?

User avatar
No_Mind
Posts: 1813
Joined: Fri May 23, 2014 4:12 pm
Location: India

Re: Is it wrong to pray to the Buddha?

Post by No_Mind » Mon Mar 05, 2018 7:09 am

alfa wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 3:11 am
We pray because we have desire/craving.

Else, we wouldn't pray.

No matter how you define prayer, it is born of craving. It is born of desire alone, the desire for SOMETHING (whatever that thing is).

So pertinent question here is not: What is prayer?

The only question that matters is: Why do we pray?
What if I pray for non material things -- such as if I pray for wisdom, if I pray for peace on this earth, if I pray that all living things be well .. would you call that desire too?

:namaste:
I know one thing: that I know nothing

thepea
Posts: 837
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2014 11:06 pm

Re: Is it wrong to pray to the Buddha?

Post by thepea » Mon Mar 05, 2018 11:47 am

No_Mind wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 7:09 am

What if I pray for non material things -- such as if I pray for wisdom, if I pray for peace on this earth, if I pray that all living things be well .. would you call that desire too?

:namaste:
Yes.

User avatar
No_Mind
Posts: 1813
Joined: Fri May 23, 2014 4:12 pm
Location: India

Re: Is it wrong to pray to the Buddha?

Post by No_Mind » Mon Mar 05, 2018 11:51 am

thepea wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 11:47 am
No_Mind wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 7:09 am

What if I pray for non material things -- such as if I pray for wisdom, if I pray for peace on this earth, if I pray that all living things be well .. would you call that desire too?

:namaste:
Yes.
What is wrong with praying for peace on this earth?

:namaste:
I know one thing: that I know nothing

chownah
Posts: 7264
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:19 pm

Re: Is it wrong to pray to the Buddha?

Post by chownah » Mon Mar 05, 2018 12:17 pm

What is wrong with praying to the buddha is that it goes against his teaching that it is by our own efforts that we will make progress or not.
chownah

James Tan
Posts: 377
Joined: Sun Jun 04, 2017 1:26 pm

Re: Is it wrong to pray to the Buddha?

Post by James Tan » Mon Mar 05, 2018 12:45 pm

chownah wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 12:17 pm
What is wrong with praying to the buddha is that it goes against his teaching that it is by our own efforts that we will make progress or not.
chownah
Nothing wrong as long as we are not buddhist , right ?
Last edited by James Tan on Mon Mar 05, 2018 1:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

thepea
Posts: 837
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2014 11:06 pm

Re: Is it wrong to pray to the Buddha?

Post by thepea » Mon Mar 05, 2018 1:13 pm

No_Mind wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 11:51 am
thepea wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 11:47 am
No_Mind wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 7:09 am

What if I pray for non material things -- such as if I pray for wisdom, if I pray for peace on this earth, if I pray that all living things be well .. would you call that desire too?

:namaste:
Yes.
What is wrong with praying for peace on this earth?

:namaste:
You didn’t ask if it was wrong you asked if it was desire/craving.
There is no right and wrong just cause and effect.

chownah
Posts: 7264
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:19 pm

Re: Is it wrong to pray to the Buddha?

Post by chownah » Mon Mar 05, 2018 1:31 pm

James Tan wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 12:45 pm
chownah wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 12:17 pm
What is wrong with praying to the buddha is that it goes against his teaching that it is by our own efforts that we will make progress or not.
chownah
Nothing wrong as long as we are not buddhist , right ?
I don't know.....is there nothing wrong with praying to someone who has more or less said that they will not answer your prayers?.......seems kind of like some strange sort of self fulfilling failure.....or not self fulfilling failure as the case may be.... So I guess it's great for someone with a will to fail......
chownah

User avatar
rightviewftw
Posts: 859
Joined: Mon Jan 01, 2018 8:50 pm

Re: Is it wrong to pray to the Buddha?

Post by rightviewftw » Mon Mar 05, 2018 1:37 pm

aflatun wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 2:58 am
The kind of prayer many people are talking about in this thread (supplication) as if it is prayer as such accounted for about 5% of the prayer I did for years as a serious practitioner in an Abrahamic tradition.

The recollection of the Buddha that the suttas praise, and which seems to lead to jhana, or just short of jhana, is similar to what an Islam is known as remembrance of God (Dhikr-ullah): Contemplating, keeping in mind, emulating and invoking the Divine Names (mercy, compassion, etc). Dhikr funny enough encompasses much of what we Buddhists call Sati-Sampajanna (mindfulness of what one is doing at all times, along with the ethical teachings that one is trying to actualize. In Islam this to a large extent falls under what is known as ihsan, often deceptively translated as "virtue") ... and it involves formal "sitting meditation" and leads to states of absorption and insight. Of course Right View is not there, so its not Buddha Dhamma, but the structural similarity is undeniable.

Prayer for a Muslim*** in the beginning stages is about submitting oneself to the Divine and at the highest level annihilation (fana) of the self (nafs) in the sheer Existence (wujud) that is the Deity: The highest form of prayer is when it is God who remembers Himself and "you" are nowhere to be found. (cf. Meister Eckhart: The eye through which I see God is the same eye through which God sees me...")

So yeah I'd call that prayer, and say its a wonderful thing to "pray to the Buddha."

***This is just an example. We'd find similar things in the other Abrahamic faiths.
thanks, good info. a bit off topic but do you know of people practicing for "absorbtion ihsan" at all nowadays? Also i assume this would be more of the type of prayer that is recital of a mantra rather than asking for things or what?
How to Destroy any addiction - Ven. Yuttadhammo Bhikkhu
How to Meditate: Vipassana Satipatthana Mahasi
Медитация Сатипаттхана Випассана
How To Develop Factors & Perceptions
Tyranny of Words - An Introduction to General Semantics
"It is hard for such a generation to see this truth, namely, specific conditionality, dependent origination. And it is hard to see this truth, namely, the stilling of all formations, the relinquishing of all acquisitions, the destruction of craving, dispassion, cessation, Nibbāna."

chownah
Posts: 7264
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:19 pm

Re: Is it wrong to pray to the Buddha?

Post by chownah » Mon Mar 05, 2018 2:22 pm

I think that some people are confusing "praying TO the buddha" with some sort of "praying ABOUT the buddha"......this thread is supposed to be about praying TO the buddha which would be addressing some sort of verbalisation (I guess) to the buddha.
chownah

User avatar
aflatun
Posts: 802
Joined: Fri Sep 16, 2016 2:40 pm
Location: Bay Area, CA

Re: Is it wrong to pray to the Buddha?

Post by aflatun » Mon Mar 05, 2018 3:35 pm

rightviewftw wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 1:37 pm
thanks, good info. a bit off topic but do you know of people practicing for "absorbtion ihsan" at all nowadays? Also i assume this would be more of the type of prayer that is recital of a mantra rather than asking for things or what?
Plenty of people sure, but just like Buddhism its a mixed scene. There are groups led by teachers that are 1) knowing charlatans 2) well meaning but deluded 3) legit. #3 is super rare. And in this tradition being a legit teacher means having a legit transmission (baya) from a legit teacher, so you can imagine it gets hairy. That said I've known many dedicated practitioners that didn't have a perfect teacher. In the middle east there there still exists a tradition that is master-student based and involves systematic study of theology (kalam), logic, philosophy (falsafa) and these contemplative practices (tasawwuf, i.e. "sufism"). Similar to the way rigorous scholastic training is wedded to intensive meditation practice in the Tibetan tradition. It's out there, but its hard to find.

And yeah while the practice encompasses all activities of normal life and can be implemented in a variety of ways, it comes to a head in sitting-type practice which usually involves actual repetition of a name, like a mantra. But that's not the only way its done. Some people use the breath, some people do visualization or 'staring' type practices, some people even dance (@39 seconds) . And there are various schemes associated with all of this that amount to a 'progress of insight' also, most clearly articulated by Ibn Al Arabi, Suhrawardi, Mulla Sadra, etc.
"People often get too quick to say 'there's no self. There's no self...no self...no self.' There is self, there is focal point, its not yours. That's what not self is."

Ninoslav Ñāṇamoli
Senses and the Thought-1, 42:53

"Those who create constructs about the Buddha,
Who is beyond construction and without exhaustion,
Are thereby damaged by their constructs;
They fail to see the Thus-Gone.

That which is the nature of the Thus-Gone
Is also the nature of this world.
There is no nature of the Thus-Gone.
There is no nature of the world."

Nagarjuna
MMK XXII.15-16

User avatar
rightviewftw
Posts: 859
Joined: Mon Jan 01, 2018 8:50 pm

Re: Is it wrong to pray to the Buddha?

Post by rightviewftw » Mon Mar 05, 2018 3:53 pm

aflatun wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 3:35 pm
Thanks i have a friend who is very muslim and a strong person. So maybe i should help him make the Absorbtion Jhanas instead of going about it intellectually because he does not like to talk about his doubts.
How to Destroy any addiction - Ven. Yuttadhammo Bhikkhu
How to Meditate: Vipassana Satipatthana Mahasi
Медитация Сатипаттхана Випассана
How To Develop Factors & Perceptions
Tyranny of Words - An Introduction to General Semantics
"It is hard for such a generation to see this truth, namely, specific conditionality, dependent origination. And it is hard to see this truth, namely, the stilling of all formations, the relinquishing of all acquisitions, the destruction of craving, dispassion, cessation, Nibbāna."

James Tan
Posts: 377
Joined: Sun Jun 04, 2017 1:26 pm

Re: Is it wrong to pray to the Buddha?

Post by James Tan » Mon Mar 05, 2018 4:02 pm

chownah wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 1:31 pm
James Tan wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 12:45 pm
chownah wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 12:17 pm
What is wrong with praying to the buddha is that it goes against his teaching that it is by our own efforts that we will make progress or not.
chownah
Nothing wrong as long as we are not buddhist , right ?
I don't know.....is there nothing wrong with praying to someone who has more or less said that they will not answer your prayers?.......seems kind of like some strange sort of self fulfilling failure.....or not self fulfilling failure as the case may be.... So I guess it's great for someone with a will to fail......
chownah
Sometimes
Last edited by James Tan on Tue Mar 06, 2018 2:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Lucas Oliveira
Posts: 735
Joined: Wed Jun 10, 2015 10:07 pm

Re: Is it wrong to pray to the Buddha?

Post by Lucas Oliveira » Mon Mar 05, 2018 4:03 pm

one of the things I ask in my prayers is energy to practice the Dhamma of the Buddha. I know that there are many techniques to awaken energy, but in this case prayer helps me a lot.

for example: at some point in the day I go to meditate and I'm lazy, I say a prayer and 5 minutes later I'm with the renewed energies ready for another hour of meditation.

just words self suggestion? Mind power? help of divine beings? I do not know, I just know it works.

maybe when I'm more advanced in practice I will not need prayers. when you are firm in the practice of the Dhamma of the Buddha.

prayers for angels (devas) prayer for God (superior Devas).
There were, monk, recluses and brahmans in the world before you who practised austerities for a term as long as your whole life. These would know thus: either, if there is another further escape: There is another further escape; or, if there is not another further escape: There is not another further escape. So I, monk, say this to you: You will never see another further escape however much yon may go in for toil and trouble. But if you, monk, would ascertain extension, you will become near to me, reposing on my substance, to be done to as I will, dwarfed. If you would ascertain cohesion, you will become near to me, reposing on my substance, to be done to as I will, dwarfed. If you would ascertain heat, you will become near to me, reposing on my substance, to be done to as I will, dwarfed. If you would ascertain motion, you will become near to me, reposing on my substance, to be done to as I will, dwarfed. If you would ascertain creatures, you will become near to me, reposing on my substance, to be done to as I will, dwarfed. If you would ascertain devas, you will become near to me, reposing on my substance, to be done to as I will, dwarfed. If you would ascertain Pajāpati, you will become near to me, reposing on my substance, to be done to as I will, dwarfed. If you would ascertain Brahmā, you will become near to me, reposing on my substance, to be done to as I will, dwarfed.

But I too, Brahma, know this: If I were to ascertain extension, I will become near to you, reposing on your substance, to be done to as you will, dwarfed. If I were to ascertain cohesion, I will become near to you, reposing on your substance, to be done to as you will, dwarfed. If I were to ascertain heat, I will become near to you, reposing on your substance, to be done to as you will, dwarfed. If I were to ascertain motion, I will become near to you, reposing on your substance, to be done to as you will, dwarfed. If I were to ascertain creatures, I will become near to you, reposing on your substance, to be done to as you will, dwarfed. If I were to ascertain devas, I will become near to you, reposing on your substance, to be done to as you will, dwarfed. If I were to ascertain Pajāpati, I will become near to you, reposing on your substance, to be done to as you will, dwarfed. If I were to ascertain Brahmā, I will become near to you, reposing on your substance, to be done to as you will, dwarfed.

Moreover I both comprehend your bourn, Brahmā, and I comprehend your splendour: Baka the Brahma is of great psychic power thus, Baka the Brahma is of great majesty thus, Baka the Brahma is of great fame thus:

As far as moon and sun revolve in their course
And light up all the quarters with their radiance,
So far extends the thousand-world system:
Here your sway is exercised.

But do you know the distinctions?
The passionate and dispassionate likewise?
The becoming thus, the becoming otherwise,
The coming and the going of beings?

It is thus that I, Brahmā, both comprehend your bourn and comprehend your splendour: Baka the Brahma is of great psychic power thus, Baka the Brahma is of great majesty thus, Baka the Brahma is of great fame thus. But there are, Brahmā, three other classes which you do not know, do not see, but which I know and see. There is, Brahmā, the class called Radiant ones from which you have passed away, uprising here; but because of your very long abiding (here), the recollection of it is confused, and because of that you neither know nor see it; I know and see it. Thus I, Brahmā, am not merely on an exact equality with you as regards super-knowledge; how could I be lower, since I am indeed greater than you? There is, Brahmā, the class called Lustrous ones which you neither know nor see, but which I know and see. There is, Brahmā, the class called Vehapphala which you neither know nor see, but which I know and see. Thus again I, Brahmā, am not merely on an exact equality with you as regards super-knowledge; how could I be lower, since I am indeed greater than you?

https://suttacentral.net/en/mn49

:anjali:
I participate in this forum using Google Translator. http://translate.google.com.br

http://www.acessoaoinsight.net/

binocular
Posts: 5071
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: Is it wrong to pray to the Buddha?

Post by binocular » Mon Mar 05, 2018 6:16 pm

chownah wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 1:31 pm
I don't know.....is there nothing wrong with praying to someone who has more or less said that they will not answer your prayers?.......seems kind of like some strange sort of self fulfilling failure.....or not self fulfilling failure as the case may be.... So I guess it's great for someone with a will to fail......
Hence:
binocular wrote:
Fri Mar 02, 2018 2:01 pm
How many people pray (as in: petitionary prayer) to the Buddha, with the quiet conviction that it is safe to do so, because the Buddha ain't gonna reply anyway ...

James Tan
Posts: 377
Joined: Sun Jun 04, 2017 1:26 pm

Re: Is it wrong to pray to the Buddha?

Post by James Tan » Tue Mar 06, 2018 6:13 am

It seems ,
many monks and lays , whether Theravada, Mahayana , Vajrayana , doing morning and evening services , chantings ,
making offerings of fresh water, incense and the lighting of candles to the Buddha rupas ,
these are all consider a kind of praying .

Perhaps they are all wrong .

User avatar
bodom
Posts: 6180
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:18 pm
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Re: Is it wrong to pray to the Buddha?

Post by bodom » Tue Mar 06, 2018 6:19 am

If prayer brings you peace of mind then continue with it. Just don't expect for them to be answered.

:namaste:
To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With no struggling, no thinking,
the mind, still,
will see cause and effect
vanishing in the Void.
Attached to nothing, letting go:
Know that this is the way
to allay all stress.

- Upasika Kee Nanayan

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Circle5, Google [Bot], mikenz66, retrofuturist, Sam Vara, SDC and 81 guests